Miss Ashton

Miss Ashton's New Pupil - A School Girl's Story

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The Project Gutenberg EBook of Miss Ashton's New Pupil, by Mrs. S. S. RobbinsThis eBook is for the use of anyone anywhere at no cost and withalmost no restrictions whatsoever. You may copy it, give it away orre-use it under the terms of the Project Gutenberg License includedwith this eBook or online at www.gutenberg.netTitle: Miss Ashton's New PupilA School Girl's StoryAuthor: Mrs. S. S. RobbinsRelease Date: May 10, 2009 [EBook #28743]Language: English*** START OF THIS PROJECT GUTENBERG EBOOK MISS ASHTON'S NEW PUPIL ***Produced by Roger Frank and the Online DistributedProofreading Team at http://www.pgdp.netTwenty white-robed girls in ghost-like procession headed for theFräulein’s room.—Page 189. Miss Ashton’s New Pupil.MISS ASHTON’S NEW PUPILA SCHOOL GIRL’S STORYBy MRS. S. S. ROBBINSAuthor of “Hulda Brent’s Will,” “Paul’s Angel,” etc., etc.emblemA. L. BURT, PUBLISHER,52-58 Duane Street, New York.Copyright, 1892,By BRADLEY & WOODRUFF.All Rights ReservedCONTENTSCHAPTER PAGEI. Miss Ashton Receives a Letter. 5II. Marion Enters School. 9III. Gladys Has a Room-Mate. 16IV. Settling Down to Work. 22V. Mrs. Parke’s Letter. 27VI. School Cliques. 33VII. Aids to Education. 40VIII. Demosthenic Club. 46IX. Miss Ashton’s Advice. 55X. Choosing a Profession. 62XI. Visit of Cousin Abijah. 68XII. The Tableaux. 73XIII. Gladys Leaves the Club. 78XIV. Kate Underwood’s Apologies. 84XV. Miss Ashton’s Friday Night. 91XVI. Storied West ...

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The Project Gutenberg EBook of Miss Ashton's New Pupil, by Mrs. S. S. Robbins This eBook is for the use of anyone anywhere at no cost and with almost no restrictions whatsoever. You may copy it, give it away or re-use it under the terms of the Project Gutenberg License included with this eBook or online at www.gutenberg.net Title: Miss Ashton's New Pupil A School Girl's Story Author: Mrs. S. S. Robbins Release Date: May 10, 2009 [EBook #28743] Language: English *** START OF THIS PROJECT GUTENBERG EBOOK MISS ASHTON'S NEW PUPIL *** Produced by Roger Frank and the Online Distributed Proofreading Team at http://www.pgdp.net Twenty white-robed girls in ghost-like procession headed for the Fräulein’s room.—Page 189. Miss Ashton’s New Pupil. MISS ASHTON’S NEW PUPIL A SCHOOL GIRL’S STORY By MRS. S. S. ROBBINS Author of “Hulda Brent’s Will,” “Paul’s Angel,” etc., etc. emblem A. L. BURT, PUBLISHER, 52-58 Duane Street, New York. Copyright, 1892, By BRADLEY & WOODRUFF. All Rights Reserved CONTENTS CHAPTER PAGE I. Miss Ashton Receives a Letter. 5 II. Marion Enters School. 9 III. Gladys Has a Room-Mate. 16 IV. Settling Down to Work. 22 V. Mrs. Parke’s Letter. 27 VI. School Cliques. 33 VII. Aids to Education. 40 VIII. Demosthenic Club. 46 IX. Miss Ashton’s Advice. 55 X. Choosing a Profession. 62 XI. Visit of Cousin Abijah. 68 XII. The Tableaux. 73 XIII. Gladys Leaves the Club. 78 XIV. Kate Underwood’s Apologies. 84 XV. Miss Ashton’s Friday Night. 91 XVI. Storied West Rock. 98 XVII. November Snowstorm. 105 XVIII. The Sleigh-Ride. 112 XIX. Detectives at Work. 120 XX. Repentance. 128 XXI. Accepting a Thanksgiving Invitation. 136 XXII. Aunt Betty’s Reception of Her Guest. 143 XXIII. The Academy Girl’s Thanksgiving at the Old Homestead. 150 XXIV. Marion’s Repentance. 160 XXV. Diphtheria. 167 XXVI. Christmas Coming. 175 XXVII. Christmas in the Academy. 183 XXVIII. Fräulein’s Gymnastics. 191 XXIX. Women’s Work. 200 XXX. Deceit. 208 XXXI. Marion’s Letter from Home. 216 XXXII. Penitent. 223 XXXIII. Spring Vacation. 231 XXXIV. Nemesis. 236 XXXV. Farewell Words. 244 XXXVI. Women’s Work. 251 XXXVII. Commencement. 260 MISS ASHTON’S NEW PUPIL. CHAPTER I MISS ASHTON RECEIVES A LETTER. Miss Ashton, principal of the Montrose Academy, established for the higher education of young ladies, sat with a newly arrived letter in her hand, looking with a troubled face over its contents. Letters of this kind were of constant occurrence, but this had in it a different tone from any she had previously received. “It’s tender and true,” she said to herself. “How sorry I am, I can do nothing for her!” This was the letter:— Dear Miss Ashton,—I have a daughter Marion, now sixteen years old. Developing at this age what we think rather an unusual amount of talent, we are desirous to send her to a good school at the East. We have been at the West twenty years as Home Missionaries. When I tell you that, I need not add that we have been made very happy by being able to save money enough to give Marion at least a year under your kind care, if you can receive her into your school. I think I can safely promise you that she will be faithful and industrious; and I earnestly hope that the lovely Christian character she has sustained at home, may deepen and brighten in the new life which will open to her in the East. May I ask your patience while she is accustoming herself to it; of your kindness I am well assured. Truly yours, E. G. Parke. “The child of a poor, far western missionary, so different from the class of girls that she will be with here,” thought Miss Ashton as she slowly folded the letter. She sat for some time thinking over its contents, then she took her pen, and wrote:— Dear Mrs. Parke,—Send your daughter to me. I have great interest in, and sympathy with, all Home Missionary work. I wish I could do something to lighten the expenses she must incur; but this is a chartered institution, and at present all the places to be filled by those who need assistance have been taken. I will, however, bear her in mind; and should she prove a good scholar, exemplary in her behavior, I may be able to render her in the future some acceptable assistance. Wishing you all success in your trying and arduous life, and the help of the great Helper, I am, truly yours, C. S. Ashton. Miss Ashton did not seal this note; she tossed it upon her desk, meaning to look it over before it was mailed; but she had no time, and, with many misgivings as to what might come of it, she allowed it to go as it was. Her school had never been fuller than it promised to be on the opening of this new year. Through the summer vacation letters had been coming to her from all parts of the country asking to put girls who had finished graded and high school education under her care. Established for many years, the academy had grown from what, in the religious world, was considered a “missionary training-school,” and from which many able and faithful women had gone forth to win laurels in the over-ripe harvest fields, to a school better adapted to the wants of the nineteenth century. While it held its religious prestige, it also offered unusual advantages to that important and numerous class of girls who, not wishing a college education, were yet desirous to spend the years that should change them from girls into women in preparation for a future great in its aims, and also great in its results. Miss Ashton, large-hearted and strong-headed, seeing wisely into this future, had succeeded in offering to this class exactly what it had demanded. Ably seconded by an efficient and generous board of trustees, with ample funds, excellent teachers to assist her, a convenient and handsome building in which to hold the school, she had readily made it a success. There were more applications for admittance than she could find room for; indeed, every available corner of the house had been promised when she received Mrs. Parke’s letter. Sometimes it happened that a scholar for some unforeseen reason failed to appear; that might make an opening for Marion. She wanted this Western girl; the missionary spirit of olden times came back to her with a warmth and freshness it would have cheered the hearts of the long-absent ones in heathen lands to know. The crowd of scholars began to gather. They came from the north and the south, the east and the west, with a remarkable promptness. On the day for the opening of the term every room was full, and many who had delayed applying for places—taking it for granted there was always a vacancy—were sent disappointed away. There seemed to be positively no spot for Marion; and, in spite of all the cares and perplexities which each day brought her, Miss Ashton could not forget it. It became a positive source of worry to her before she received a letter stating the day on which Marion would arrive. “That’s not a good beginning, to be a week after the opening of the term,” she thought. “I hope she will bring a good excuse.” CHAPTER II. MARION ENTERS SCHOOL. It was a beautiful September twilight when a young girl came timidly into the main entrance of the Young Ladies’ Academy at Montrose. Six days and four nights ago she had left her home in Oregon, delayed by the sickness of one of the companions under whose escort she was to come to Massachusetts. Before this journey she had never been more than ten miles from home, and it was a wonderful new world into which the cars so quickly brought her. Mountains, plains, rivers, cities, villages, seemed to fly by her as the train dashed along. She had no time to miss the familiar scenes of her own home. The flat prairie, over whose long reaches gay flowers blossomed, the little villages dotted here and there, with now and then a small, white steeple pointing heavenward,—her father’s church among them, with the neat parsonage, so much of which he had built with his own hand, and the dear ones she had left behind her there. To-day she had reached her destination, and a smiling girl had met her at the door and ushered her into the lower corridor of the academy. It was just after tea, an hour given up to social enjoyment, and the corridor was full of young girls, busy and noisy. The stranger shrank back into the recess of the door; she hoped no one would see her: if she could only escape until the principal came, how glad she should be! Little groups kept constantly passing her; many from among them turned their heads and looked at her inquiringly; some smiled and bowed, but no one spoke, until a tall girl who had passed and repassed her a number of times left her party and came to her. “You are our two hundredth!” she said, holding her hand out cordially toward her. “We are glad you have come! Now we are the largest number that have ever been in this school at one time. Shall I take you to Miss Ashton?” Marion held very tight to the hand that was given her as they passed together down through the lines of scholars toward the principal’s room. More smiles and cheery nods met her, and now and then she caught “two hundredth” as she passed. A knock at a door was immediately answered by a pleasant “Come in.” “Oh, it’s you, Dorothy, is it? I’m always glad to see you,” said Miss Ashton, rising from the table at which she had been writing. “I’ve brought you your new pupil,” said Dorothy. “And I’m very glad to see her. It is Marion Parke, I presume. You have had a long, hard journey, but you look so well I need not ask how you have borne it.” As she was giving Marion this welcome, Miss Ashton, with the quick look by which her long experience had accustomed her to judging something of character, saw in the timid new pupil a very different girl from what in her troubled thoughts of her she had expected her to be. Two large gray eyes from under long, drooping eyelids met hers with an appealing look; lips trembled sensitively as they tried to answer her, and a delicate color came slowly up over the rounded cheeks. “I am very sorry to be late,” Marion said with a self-possession that belied the timidity her face expressed; “but sickness of my friends with whom I was to come, detained me.” “I had no doubt there was a sufficient reason,” Miss Ashton answered kindly. “You are a week behind most of the others, but you can make the time up with diligence. Dorothy, please take Marion to the guest-room for to-night. I will see you later. I am very glad you are here safely. You will have time after tea to write a few lines home. Give my love to your mother, please.” Dorothy led the way to the guest-room. It was a pretty room near Miss Ashton’s, kept for the convenience of entertaining guests. Dorothy threw open the window-blinds, and Marion saw before her a New England village. In the near distance rose hill upon hill, their sides covered with elegant residences, and what she thought were palaces, crowning their tops. The light of this September twilight covered them with a mantle of gold, lit up the broad river that ran at the base of the hills like a translucent band, turned the tall chimneys of factories in the adjacent city, usually so disfiguring, into minarets, blazing with rich Oriental coloring. “Is it not beautiful?” Dorothy asked, slipping her arm around Marion’s waist, and drawing her nearer the window; “we have it always—always to look at, morning, noon, and night, and it is never the same twice. I was born and brought up by the sea, and I’ve been here three years, yet I love it better and better every day.” “I was born and brought up on the prairies.” “The land seas,” added Dorothy. “How strange they must be! I would like to see the prairies. “The grand thing about this is, it belongs to you all the time you stay here, just as much as if you really owned it; nobody can take it from you; there it is, and there it must remain. That is the reason they built our academy on this high hill, so it should be ours, a part of our education,—‘Grow into us,’ Miss Ashton says, and it does.” While they stood looking at it the twilight deepened; the golden flush faded away. Over hill and river crept the shadows of the night, and out from the adjoining corridor sounded a loud gong, the first one Marion had ever heard. She turned a frightened face toward Dorothy, who said, “Our gong; study hours begin now, so I must go: I shall see you to-morrow.” Then she hurried away, and Marion was left alone; but she had hardly gone, before there was a gentle tap upon her door, then it opened, and Miss Benton, one of the teachers, came in. “What, all alone in the dark! That’s lonely for a new pupil. Let me light your gas, and then I will take you down to tea; you must be very hungry.” Her voice was kind, and her manner gentle. She lighted the gas, then slipped Marion’s arm into hers, and took her through the long, bright corridors to the dining-hall. Here, a pleasant-faced matron came to meet her. She gave her a seat at a table, which she told her would be hers permanently, then seated herself by Marion’s side and talked to her cheerfully as she ate. It was all so homelike; every one she had met was kind and friendly. It would be her own fault certainly if she were not contented and happy here, Marion thought. Tea over, she tried to find her way alone back to her room, but there were corridors leading to stairs, corridors leading to recitation rooms, corridors leading to a large hall dimly lighted, corridors leading everywhere but where she wanted to go, and, for a wonder, no one to be seen of whom she could ask direction. There was something so ludicrous in the situation, that every now and then Marion burst into a merry little laugh; and after a time one of her laughs was echoed, and, turning, she saw a short, fat little woman with very light hair, and light blue eyes, who came directly to her, holding up two small hands and laughing. “You, new der Mundel,” she said; “Two Hundert they call you. What for you hier?” “I’ve lost my way. I can’t find my room,” said Marion, still laughing. “What der Raum?” Marion was startled. Was this an insane woman who was walking at large in the corridors? What sort of a jargon was this she was talking to her? Had it been wholly German, or even correct German, Marion would have understood her, at least in part; but this language, what was it? The speaker, much to the amusement of the whole school, used a curious medley of neither English nor German in her attempt to speak the English, seeming to forget the proper use of her own language. Marion answered her now with a half-frightened, “Ma’am?” “You not stand under me? I am your teacher, German. I am Fräulein Sausmann. Berlin I vas born. I teach you der German. Come, tell me, Two Hundert, vere vas your der Raum, vat you call it? Your apartament, vere you seep?” shutting up her small eyes tight, and leaning her head on one hand, to represent a pillow. “The guest-room,” said Marion, now understanding her. “Der guest-room? Oui, oui, Madamoselle. I chapperon you,—come!” Seizing one of Marion’s hands, she led her to her room, opening the door, then, standing on the tips of her small feet and kissing her on both cheeks, she said in English, “Good-night,” kissed her own hand, and, throwing the kiss toward Marion, disappeared. Marion found her trunk in her room unstrapped, and, tired as she was, began to make preparations for spending the night there. She did not suppose for a moment it was to be permanently hers, but fell asleep wondering what could be next in waiting for her. CHAPTER III. GLADYS HAS A ROOM-MATE. When Dorothy left Marion at the call of the gong for study hours she went at once to her own room. She had two room-mates, both her cousins; one, Gladys Philbrick, was a Florida girl, the only child of a wealthy owner of several orange-groves. She was motherless, and needed a woman’s care, and the advantages of a Northern education, so her father sent her to live with relatives in the small seaport town of Rock Cove. The other, Susan Downer, was the child of a sister of Mr. Philbrick; her father followed the sea, and her brother, almost the one boy in Rock Cove who did not look upon a sailor life as the only one worth living, was at the present time a student at the academy at Atherton, only a few miles from Montrose. Dorothy herself was the child of a fisherman—her own mother dead, and she left under the care of a weak stepmother, whose numerous family of small children had made Dorothy’s life one of constant hardship. When Mr. Philbrick, in one of his visits to Gladys at the North, became acquainted with this little group of cousins, he had no hesitation—being not only an educated man, but also one of a great heart and generous nature—in making plans for their future education. In carrying these out, he had sent Jerry Downer to Atherton; Gladys, Susan, and Dorothy to Montrose. Her cousins were already busy with their books when Dorothy came into the room; and, careful not to disturb them, she sat quietly down to study her own lessons, but she could not fix her mind upon them. Marion alone down-stairs, homesick, with no one to say a kind word to her, or to tell her about the school, “a stranger in a strange land,” she kept repeating to herself; “and such a sweet-looking girl. It’s too bad!” Try her best not to, she still found herself watching the hands of the clock. For a wonder she was anxious to have study hours over; she wanted to tell her cousins about Marion. As it proved, they were quite as anxious to hear; for no sooner had the clock struck nine, and the gong struck again for the close, as it had for the opening of study hours, than they shut their books, and Gladys said,— “Tell us about Two Hundred? What a way you have, Dorothy, of always finding out people who want you!” “She was all alone,” said Dorothy, by way of answer; “and she looked so lonely.” “Tell us about her,” said Susan. “Never mind the lonely; new scholars always are; that’s a part of their education, Miss Ashton says. We should have been if we hadn’t been all together. What is she like?” “She’s lovely,” said Dorothy. “She is pretty, and she isn’t. Her hair just waves all over her head; and her eyes were blue, and they were hazel, and they were—” “Gray!” put in Gladys. “Yes, I suppose they were gray; but they were all colors, but cat colors, until it grew too dark for me to see her.” “We shall like her. I wish she could have a room near us. Her eyes tell true tales.” “She can,” said Gladys instantly. “She can room with me. I am the only girl in school who hasn’t a room-mate. You wait”— and Gladys, without another word, hurried out of the room. She very well knew that after nine Miss Ashton disliked a call unless there was some imperative necessity for it, so she knocked so gently on the closed door that she was hardly heard; and when at last Miss Ashton appeared, she looked so tired, and her smile was so wan, that Gladys, eager as she was, wished she had been more thoughtful; but, in her impulsive way, she blundered out,— “She can come to me. I’m all alone, you know.” “Who can come to you, Gladys?” If it had been any other of her pupils, Miss Ashton would have been surprised; but three years had taught her that this Florida girl was exceptional. “Two Hundred! Dorothy says she is lovely, with big eyes, and lonely”— “You mean Marion Parke?” “Yes, that’s her name. We all call her Two Hundred.” “Then you must not call her so any more. It would annoy her.” “I never will if you’ll please let her come and room with me. It’s such a cheerful room, and I’ll be ever so nice to her, Miss Ashton; try me, and see.” “But, Gladys, you know your father pays me an extra price for your having your room to yourself.” “I think, Miss Ashton,”—looking earnestly in Miss Ashton’s face,—“he would be ashamed of me if I wasn’t willing to share it with her. Please! I’ll be as amiable as an angel.” Miss Ashton knew the cousins well. She knew, if she excepted Susan, of whom she felt always in doubt, she could hardly have chosen out of her school any girls from whom she would have expected kinder and safer treatment for the new- comer. “How could I have doubted God would provide for this missionary child!” she thought, as she looked down into the earnest face beside her; but she only said,— “Thank you, Gladys; I will think it over!” and Gladys, not at all sure her offer would be accepted, went back to her room.